When pondering marketing, you may think “How can I possibly afford to market the League? We can barely afford the postage we need.”

Or maybe you can afford some marketing and advertising, but you’re looking for the best use of your limited resources when getting and keeping members. Whatever your League situation, you have many inexpensive marketing tools available.

Testimonials: Ask members to write you a simple thank-you note that describes something valuable that your League did. It could be a program, candidates' forum, or action on an advocacy issue. Ask them if you can use their words to tell others. Then put them on your web site and in your brochure and in other marketing materials. If they tell others about the League, then you won't have to say it yourself.

Write articles: Even if you don’t yet consider yourself an expert, you know something or have some perspective about the League that others don’t. Take the time to share that by writing an article for your local newspaper, a regional magazine, or another publication that might be read by perspective members. An article can be of general interest or “how to” instructions for something lots of readers might want to know. If you have lots of things to tell, you might develop a regular column.

Presentations: You can also share your knowledge in person by making speaking or teaching classes. While both call for imparting knowledge in an entertaining way, a presentation should be heavy on the entertaining and a class should emphasize knowledge the attendees can take away with them.

Interviews: Offer interviews to local news media. Sure, lots of people try to get on TV or radio and get turned down, but start by offering short, filler interviews of real interest to their audience. If you get their attention, they will know your name when they need the League.

Email newsletters and postcards: Stay in contact with members and potential by emailing newsletters and postcards. Newsletters have several pieces of information, and post cards usually have one piece of information. Both must be interesting to the reader by being fun to read and by delivering information the reader wants from you. Email postcards with a picture should have a picture with people, not just a boring announcement. They should also have just enough words to pique the reader’s interest and to move the reader to take action to find out more. Postcards like that are more likely to get forwarded to people not on your mailing list.

Information Kit: People used to call these “press kits. The kit tells people exactly what your League is doing and how to become a member. The kit might contain a membership brochure, a recent newsletter, an invitation to upcoming events.

Postcards: Postcards are an inexpensive way to promote special events, keep in touch with existing members, and drive traffic to your web site. Have an attention-getting headline, promote only one key thing per card, provide contact information, and proofread.

Flyers: Have a snappy headline, use colorful graphics, focus on benefits, use testimonials, organize the page with boxes and borders, make easily identifiable points, don’t get complicated, proofread, and use brightly colored paper. (More on this next week!)

Here's a small task that may have long lasting results: Send a thank you note to the press, covering a forum, thanking voters for attending a candidate forum and asking them to join the League.

There you have it. You can choose from many inexpensive ways to market your League. You are the expert about your League, so use your imagination to adapt these ideas and others to your needs.